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Area harvested and to be harvested for grain is forecast at 87.7 million acres, unchanged from October but up 4% from 2011. The November 1 corn objective yield data indicate the lowest number of ears per acre since 2005 for the combined 10 objective yield states (Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin).
Aided by mostly favorable conditions during the first part of October, corn producers were harvesting the nation's crop at one of the quickest paces on record. As of October 14, 79% of this year's crop was harvested, 37 percentage points ahead of last year and 41 points ahead of the five-year average pace. Despite precipitation during the latter part of October that slowed late-season harvesting in many of the major corn-producing areas, 95% of the nation's corn crop was harvested as of Nov. 4. This is 10 percentage points ahead of last year and 24 percentage points ahead of the five-year average pace.
Area for harvest is forecast at 75.7 million acres, unchanged from October but up 3% from 2011. If realized, harvested area will be the third largest on record.
The November objective yield data for the combined 11 major soybean-producing states (Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio and South Dakota) indicate a lower pod count compared with last year, as hot, dry weather during bloom hampered development of the crop in many areas. Compared with final counts for 2011, pod counts are down in all states. The largest declines from 2011's final pod counts are expected in Illinois, Missouri and Nebraska, all down more than 500 pods/18 sq. ft.
Soybean harvest in the 18 major states was 41% complete at the beginning of October, 26 percentage points ahead of last year's pace and 22 percentage points ahead of normal. Progress was ahead of normal in all 18 states except for Indiana, Ohio and Tennessee, and was more than 50 percentage points ahead of normal in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. Cool, wet weather during the first part of the month slowed harvest activities at times from the central Great Plains into the central Corn Belt, as well as in the Southeast. As of Oct. 14, harvest was 71% complete, but had fallen behind normal progress in Kansas, Missouri and North Carolina. Despite continued scattered rain over the remainder of the month in parts of the Midwest, harvest progress reached 93% complete by Nov. 4, 2 percentage points ahead of last year and 7 percentage points ahead of normal. At that time, only North Carolina and Ohio remained slightly behind normal pace.
If realized, the forecasted yield in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia will be a record high.